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Thursday 19th October
Mongolia Information - Page 1
Geography
Mongolia is a landlocked country in the north of Central Asia. It is bordered by China and Russia.

Ulaanbaatar is the capital. Other large cities are Darkhan and Erdenet.

The terrain consists of mountains, grassy steppe, semi-desert and desert plains. The Gobi Desert is in the south. Major rivers are the Orhon, the Tuul, and the Selenge.

Mongolia has a continental climate. Winters are cold and snowy. Temperatures change daily; there are a high percentage of sunny days.

Environment
Protected areas in Mongolia cover over thirteen percent of the country's territory.

The following sites are included in UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme: Bogd Khan Uul Biosphere Reserve (forest steppe and mountains), Dornod Mongol (rolling steppe), Great Gobi (desert), Hustai Nuruu Biosphere Reserve (steppe and forest steppe), and the Uvs Lake Basin, also a World Heritage site.

Khar Us Nuur National Park is one of Mongolia's sites listed by Ramsar as Wetlands of International Importance.

Wildlife in Mongolia includes bears, Bactrian camels, deer, gazelles, horses, marmots, mountain sheep, snow leopards and wolves. Around four hundred species of birds can be found throughout the country.

Architecture
Approximately a third of Mongolia's population lives in the capital. A large number of families are housed in apartment blocks from the communist era.

Mongolians still live in the traditional ger or yurt, composed of a round tent with a collapsible wooden framework and layers of felt coverings. Many of these nomadic abodes are situated outside urban areas.

Population
The population of Mongolia was estimated at 2,996,081 in 2008.

Languages
Ninety percent of the population speaks Khalkha Mongol. Other languages spoken include Turkic and Russian. English is becoming the main foreign language.

Religion
Over half of the people of Mongolia follow [Tibetan] Buddhist Lamaism. There are relatively small percentages of Shamanists, Christians and Muslims.

Food
Raising livestock is the main occupation in Mongolia. Thus Mongolian cuisine is based on meat and dairy products.

Meat is often boiled and eaten with rice. It is also made into sausages. Air-drying is a method of preserving meat.

Popular meals include pancakes filled with minced meat, meat filled dumplings, and mutton soup.

A traditional way of roasting a goat is to fill it with hot stones and cook it on a barbecue.

Fruit and vegetables available are apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, onions, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

Tea is preferred with milk and salt, and often accompanied with butter biscuits. Alcoholic drinks are beer, vodka, and fermented milk.

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